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Plan 2 ways out of every room, if possible.
Hold a fire drill twice a year.
Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
If you live in a high-rise building, contact the building management for information on your building’s fire safety plan.
Plan around your abilities
Every person is responsible for their own fire safety. It is everyone's responsibility to implement and practise the three lines of defence against fire: Prevention, Detection, Escape.
Check your home for fire hazards and eliminate them, and complete the Home Fire Safety Checklist. Most home fires are still caused by careless cooking, smoking, and candle use. Quick prevention tips:
Working smoke alarms are so important, it’s the law to have them on every storey of your home and outside sleeping areas. Remember: while installation and maintenance is mandated by the Ontario Fire Code, this code is the minimum standard. Have enough smoke alarms to provide your family with the early warning needed to escape from a fire. For example:
The Ontario Fire Code now requires every home that has a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning install a CO alarm outside of sleeping areas. You may require more than one CO alarm if you have family members/residents sleeping on different levels of your home. Learn about CO alarms.
If a fire occurred in your home tonight, would your family get out safely? Everyone must know what to do and where to go when the smoke alarm sounds. Take a few minutes with everyone in your household to make a home fire escape plan. Download the BFES Fire Safety Plan Kit and include the following information:
Your plan should include a drawing of each level of your home, and all possible emergency exits. Draw in all doors, windows and stairways. This will show you and your family all possible escape routes at a glance. Include any features (such as the roof of a garage or porch) that would help in an escape.
The door is the main exit from each room. Identify an alternate escape route, which could be a window, in case the door is blocked by smoke or fire. Make sure all windows can open easily and that everyone knows how to escape through them to safety. If windows have security bars, equip them with quick-releasing devices.
Does anyone need help to escape? Decide in advance who will assist the very young, older adults or people with disabilities in your household. A few minutes of planning will save valuable seconds in a real emergency.
Choose a meeting place a safe distance from your home that everyone will remember. A tree, street light or a neighbour’s home are all good choices. In case of fire, everyone will go directly to this place so they can be accounted for.
Don’t waste valuable seconds calling the fire department from inside your home. Once you have safely escaped, call the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbour’s home.
Review the plan with everyone in your household. Walk through the escape routes for each room with the entire family. Check your escape routes, making sure all exits are practical and easy to use. Then hold a fire drill twice a year and time how long it takes. In a real fire, you must react without hesitation as your escape routes may be quickly blocked by smoke or flames.
Due to equipment limitations, firefighters cannot rescue people from an outside balcony or window above the seventh floor. Firefighters must do interior firefighting and rescue tactics. If you live or work in a high-rise building, review the following frequently asked questions:
The Ontario Building Code defines "high buildings" as those being seven storeys or more in height. High buildings are designed to be fire-safe, but, because they may contain many people, and because of the building's tremendous size, emergency response is challenging with significant potential for major incidents.
Due to equipment limitations, firefighters cannot rescue people from an outside balcony or window above the seventh floor. Firefighters must do interior firefighting and rescue tactics.
Fire-resistant construction High buildings are designed to be more fire-safe than an average single-family dwelling. Floors and ceilings are constructed with fire-resistant materials and are separated into fire compartments. The compartments act as barriers to prevent fire from spreading.
Fire alarm system
High buildings contain a fire alarm system designed to alert occupants when activated. Types of fire alarm devices include smoke detectors, thermal detectors and sprinkler flow switches. If you discover a fire, immediately activate a red manual pull station near a stairwell and leave the floor. This will identify the specific location at the lobby alarm panel to responding firefighters. Your fire alarm system is not connected to the Fire Services. You must always call 9-1-1. Make sure you give your name, the correct address and location of the fire.
Stairway fire escapes
High buildings have interior fire-separated stairwell shafts. Signs should be posted within stairwells indicating which floor level you are on, and also identify the nearest crossover floors, if certain floors are not accessible. If you encounter smoke while descending a stairwell, you can crossover to an alternate stairwell. Keep stairwell doors closed at all times to preserve the safety of these escape stairs.
Interior water supplies
High buildings contain a standpipe system, that is an interior water supply system of fire hose cabinets on each floor for use by firefighters. Most buildings also have portable fire extinguishers in these cabinets.
During a fire emergency, never attempt to leave a building by an elevator. Heat can activate elevator call buttons, sending the elevator to the fire floor, where dense smoke may interfere with the elevator's light-sensitive eye and prevent the door from closing. Also, you may become trapped in the elevator if water from fire fighting operations creates a power failure. In addition, fire fighters require designated elevators to carry them and their equipment to the floor below the fire.
In reacting to a fire in a high building, you must decide To Go? or To Stay?
If you choose to leave the building:
If you cannot leave your apartment/office or have returned to it because of fire or heavy smoke:
Many seniors still depend on escape routes that were planned when the kids were young. Update these plans with their current capabilities in mind, and practice with them. Place a telephone beside the bed, as well as a list of current medications, slippers, house keys, eyeglasses and a flashlight – anything you may need to take with you if you have to leave quickly. Related video: Fire Safety for Older Adults
Now that you’re in, how do you get out? The most important step is to invest a few hours to pre-plan for a fire emergency. Knowing what to do in case of fire may save your life! Talk to family, friends, neighbours, and building supervisory staff about your special needs in an emergency. Review the frequently asked questions:
Depending on your physical limitations, here are some things that you can do to protect yourself from fire. In some cases, you may be able to do some of these things yourself. In other cases, you may need someone to help you.
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